Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Family time!

Last night I fished up all of my outstanding orders! What a liberating feeling!!  Nothing is hanging over my head.  My official custom order deadline has passed and everything was completed in record time.  Now, I can finally concentrate on my home and family.  I was able to decorate the house for the holidays over the last two weeks, but it felt like a long, drawn-out process, since I couldn't carve out one entire day to do it all, as I have in the past.  I was always running to my craft studio to finish one thing or another.  I even have bins still in the dining room waiting to make their way to the basement because I've been doing everything piecemeal. 

But today I am leaving my full-time job early to go see my son's winter concert (first year trumpeter, so this ought to be good).  Then I am heading home for the afternoon so I can just relax with my family.  It will be nice to sit on the couch and watch cheesy Christmas movies with them, without having to run upstairs for "just one minute" and then come down two hours later.

Of course, don't get me wrong - I truly LOVE making custom orders.  I really enjoy those emails that start with "I was wondering if you could do this..."  In fact, these were two of those such requests that I completed last night:

 This time of year is already so hectic with lots of gifts to buy, baking to be done, presents to wrap. I am always a procrastinator, so it is nice to have just a little extra time to breathe.  But of course, I know myself.  The minute I get that "by the way, would you mind doing...." message, my first reply will be "I'm on it!!"  But at least for today, I am all caught up!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Evernote and the Cluttered Mind

Have you heard of Evernote?  If not, then let me open you up to an amazing app that is basically your brain in software form.    First, I will state that I have no affiliation with Evernote, other than being a very grateful customer.  I was not asked to give a review, nor do they even know this review exists...and it's really not even a review, more of a big THANK YOU to the company for keeping my sanity this holiday season.

Image result for brain clipart
See, to me Evernote is an online notebook that helps me capture and organize my thoughts, lists, web clippings, audio notes, etc and share them across different platforms.  I rely heavily on the Evernote for Windows app so I can create or refer to notes while at my desk, but then when I am on the fly I can open my phone app and have all of the same information right there at my fingertips.

I screenshot like crazy and save to Evernote.  I bookmark sites and save them to Evernote.  I forward emails I want to keep to Evernote - then if I have several emails referring to the same subject I can merge them all together in one note so I have a running history of everything I need to know about that subject all in one place.  It's amazing.

I discovered the software when I started to take on more and more orders for my crafting business, Joatmon Creations. I needed a way to organize my customers so I would know what they ordered from me before, or questions they asked, etc.  I tried several different programs but nothing really fit what I needed.  Then I discovered Evernote and played around with a few ideas.  I ended up creating a "notebook" within the program called Customers. Then within that I had individual notes for each person.  I added a table within the note that had the date of the order, what they wanted, a picture of the final product, cost, shipping fees, what was owed/paid, and when it was shipped.  As they improved their table function (thank you, by the way) it became so much cleaner to work with and it is invaluable to me now.  If a customer says "I love that ornament I got from you last year and I want another one for a friend" I can go and see exactly what they are talking about so I can recreate it.

To make it even more useful, I tag everything.  When I get an order I tag it "to be made".  When it is completed I change the tag to "to be paid".  Then "to be delivered".  Whenever I need to see what is in process or how many outstanding invoices I have, I just sort on the tags and I can easily see what is due.

But I use Evernote for EVERYTHING.  Not just my business. I keep track of gifts I have to buy, medical records, things I need to look up, my son's school work and class lists, etc.  I could go on and on and on. Everything I ever need to reference is right there at my fingertips.

My latest hack that has saved me this season is my Task note.  It compiles everything I need to do in one note with multiple links. I can do a quick glance to see what items need to be made, either for a customer or an upcoming craft fair, or what still needs to ship out.  I have links to my Christmas list so I know what stores I need to hit after work, or what online orders I am still expecting to be delivered (with links to the confirmation emails that I forwarded from my email program to Evernote).  My grocery list is also on that note so I can keep track of what I have to add to my Peapod order.  And once I receive payments from a customer I track it on that task note until I can enter it into my Excel tracking sheet.  With one look I can see if I am on track - or if I am overwhelmed!

Tomorrow I have my fifth craft fair of the season.  At most I normally do two a year.  To say that this year has been busier than ever for me is an understatement.  Just look at all the stuff I have to set up:

Plus tomorrow I will be offering my new Boston Sports ornaments which have already been a big hit on Facebook and Evernote has been instrumental in helping me keep track of my inventory so I know if I need to make more sets.  I also keep this picture in there as a point of reference for setting up.
If I didn't have this "second brain" to rely on, I'd be shuffling through post-it notes or paper files to keep track of everything I have to do.  Instead I can just concentrate on etching a few more wine glasses tonight.  Maybe I'll even fill one up for myself.....

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Christmas Cards

In this age of social media I am struggling to make the perfect Christmas card because I have trouble finding a family photo that I haven't already posted on Facebook or Instagram.  If we have a really good picture with all of us looking at the camera (including the dog) I want to post it right away because, let's face it, those photos can be rare.  I have a nine-year-old that loves making goofy faces no matter how many times we plead with him to give us just one good shot.

As I scroll through my phone's picture gallery I'm thinking of using one from January.  I figure people won't remember it from that far back, will they? Or maybe this will be the year we do away with the photos and just go with an old favorite, Currier and Ives.   

Or maybe we will just use this one from our famous Labor Day Theme Party.  Merry Christmas from Betty Boop and Captain America!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Happy December!

It's the holiday season and I'm starting to really get into the mood!  We have our tree up and hopefully I will have the rest of the house decorated by the weekend.  I've been slammed with orders this week for my new Boston Sports ornaments, but that's a good thing! I just hope I have time to make more for the show I am doing this weekend.

Once I get the house in order and I am prepared for my show, I'm hoping to get shopping so I can check everyone off my Christmas list. If you are working on your own list, check out www.JoatmonCreations.com for some great stocking stuffers. My reversible headbands are great for young girls and women alike.  You get two headbands in one since they are reversible and you can always add more covers to their collection  at other holidays.

For boys, key fobs are always a great way to express themselves.  I have so many designs to choose from - Star Wars, Family Guy, sports, and so much more!  They are really functional, especially for someone that keeps losing their keys when they toss them in a backpack.

My newest line of car decals and decorated items are also a crowd pleaser.  For someone that has everything - why not give the the gift of expression!
My site really is a one-stop shop.  So check it out today to see how many people you can check off of your list!!  Looking forward to seeing you at Joatmon Creations today!